Posted: June 11, 2015 | Written by Crystal Olmedo
Riverside City College students received 2,787 degrees and certificates at the 98th Commencement Ceremony held at the Wheelock Field on June 11. The youngest student who graduated was 15 years old and the oldest was 64 years old. Some students of the Spring 2015 graduating class expressed a message of the importance of perseverance for fellow students aspiring to graduate.
Tjah’mari DuCloux, the 15 year old graduate, completed 3 Associate’s Degrees in Mathematics, Social and Behavioral Sciences and Humanities. He graduated high school at the age of 12 and plans to transfer to University of California Riverside to major in Mechanical Engineering and Psychobiology. DuCloux said RCC’s Extended Opportunity Programs and Services was definitely instrumental in helping him succeed at his goals. He also acknowledged Student Services such as the Math Lab and Tutoring center for their assistance. DuCloux’s advice for fellow students is to continue to pursue their education. “Don’t give up. Surround yourself with good people that encourage you,” said DuCloux.
Teyah Cerda graduated with a Human and Behavioral Sciences Associate’s Degree and will transfer to Cal State San Bernardino to earn a Business degree in Accounting. She worked full time while maintaining a full time class load at RCC. Cerda said it took her 5 years to find her niche, but she ultimately chose Accounting because it is something she loves. She said her English Lab and the Library resources were helpful in the process to attain her degree. She said her son and daughter really pushed her to achieve her goals. Cerda said she had some bad experiences with instructors, but continued to pursue her education and try different instructors instead of simply giving up.
“People learn in different ways and instructors teach in different ways,” Cerda said. “Students should learn to make their experience personal and think, ‘What do I need to do to pass this class and how can I make it work for me?’ … You need an education to get somewhere in this life.”
The Commencement speech was given by UCR Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox, who was introduced by RCC President Wolde-Ab Isaac. The theme of Wilcox’s speech was “What will you make of it?” He encouraged students to examine what their place in the world is and how they can best use their abilities to help themselves and others.
Dora Medrano Ramos, a first-generation college student and member of the RCC Spring 2015 graduating class, was the Student Speaker at the ceremony. During her time at RCC, she served as the President of the Alpha Gamma Sigma Honor Society, which promotes community involvement and leadership skills and as treasurer of the Ujima Poject that encourages academic success and retention while also promoting leadership. She plans to earn an Applied Mathematics degree with an emphasis on physics and Communication Studies from a University of California Ramos stressed a message of students pursuing what they love and embracing the love that they experience during her speech.
“Failing at something you love is better than failing at something you hate,” Ramos said. Ramos shared her personal educational experience and how she missed the opportunity to attend Berkeley college because she was an undocumented student, but that did not allow that to deter her from continuing her education.
There were numerous departments that collaborated to make the commencement ceremony a success, such as the RCC Police, Administration, Food Services, Bookstore, Instructional Media Center staff, Music Department of Enrollment Services and many more. The ceremony ended with a recession of the graduating class exiting the field to meet their guests while the RCC Marching Tigers Band playing “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang. Next year, RCC will celebrate its landmark 100th Commencement.